Marist women eliminate Georgia with 76-70 victoryBy BRENT KALLESTAD, Associated Press Sunday, Mar 18, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)—Corielle Yarde and Marist kept driving into the lane, and they knocked down their foul shots over and over again.
It was too much for Georgia to overcome.
Yarde scored 21 points, Brandy Gang had 18 and the Red Foxes upset the fourth-seeded Bulldogs 76-70 on Sunday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
No. 13 seed Marist shot 52.5 percent and made 21 of 25 free throws for its 11th straight win. Georgia, meanwhile, shot 40.3 percent and was six of eight at the line.
Casey Dulin added 11 points for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions, who will face fifth-seeded St. Bonaventure in the second round of the Raleigh Regional on Tuesday night.
“We knew that we just had to throw it all out there and work as hard as we could and that’s what we did,” Gang said.
Marist’s aggressive approach also got Georgia’s Meredith Mitchell into foul trouble. She fouled out with 7:01 left.
“Once we got her out of there it was great,” Gang said. “We had the momentum and went with it.”
Gang’s two foul shots gave the Red Foxes the lead for good at 63-62 with 5:56 left, and Yarde’s three-point play made it 74-65 with 1:37 remaining.
Marist (26-7) had lost both of its previous games against Georgia, including a matchup in the 2006 NCAA tournament. But the Bulldogs from the Southeastern Conference couldn’t catch the Red Foxes on Sunday.
“They hurt us with the drive,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “Our defense wasn’t very good and they were very good with executing their drive options, which led to layups and fouls.”
Georgia, which had advanced to the NCAA round of 16 in each of the past two seasons, fought back from a 46-35 deficit early in the second half, forcing seniors Yarde and Gang to step up at crucial times.
They were up to the challenge.
“The same way that we’ve won all year,” Marist coach Brian Giorgis said. “With seniors stepping up (and) doing a nice job defensively.”
Khaalidah Miller led Georgia (22-9) with 21 points and Mitchell added 15 before fouling out with 7:01 left, just seconds after Jasmine James’ jumper gave the Bulldogs a 60-59 lead. Miller went 5 for 12 from 3-point range, sinking one at the final buzzer. James finished with 12 points.
Jasmine Hassell, Georgia’s leading scorer, was limited to six points and six rebounds.
Mitchell was in foul trouble for much of the game, drawing her fourth with four minutes remaining in the first half. She fouled out trying to stop Yarde’s drive on the baseline.
“I should have been a lot smarter with my fouls,” Mitchell said.
“If you choose between playing someone with fouls and letting a game get away from you, I mean, this is the last game for somebody,” Landers said. “If you choose between playing a veteran senior who understands the predicament that she’s in and a freshman who has been inconsistent, then that was an easy decision for me to make.”
Georgia, making its 18th consecutive NCAA appearance, took its first lead of the second half at 58-57 on Mitchell’s 3 with 9:35 left.
The only other time Marist was a 13 seed, it lost to eventual national champion Tennessee in the round of 16 in 2007.
Marist fell behind 10-4 at the start before settling down. The Red Foxes shot 54.5 percent and made all eight of their free throws in the first half while Georgia shot just 36.1 percent.
Gang’s 3-pointer capped an 11-0 run that gave the Red Foxes a 26-20 lead before Georgia rallied to regain the lead at 32-31 on Anne Marie Armstrong’s layup. Marist countered with 3-pointers by Kristina Danella and Yarde in the final minute of the half.
Marist’s Kelsey Beynnon had a game-high 10 rebounds and eight points.